Irish cider and beer producer C&C Group this morning revealed a 14% rise in Magners volumes in Britain for the three months to 31 May, buoyed by the good weather and extra promotional work in the off-trade. Net revenue from Magners in Britain was up 10.1%. The company stated: “The fine weather over a prolonged bank holiday season provided some respite from the challenging consumer and macro-economic environment in Ireland and the UK. Against this backdrop, the business delivered a robust performance in the first quarter. “Growth in the GB cider category accelerated in the period, driven by a considerable amount of promotional activity in the off trade. Magners enjoyed its fair share of this growth with net revenues up double digits.” Overall Magners sales were up 14.9% by volumes and 11.5% by value, aided by a rise in export growth. Export volumes of the brand increased by 32.4%, and 26.9% by value, with the US and Australia “providing much of the growth”. However, the company highlighted negatives in its cider portfolio to offset the strong performance of Magners, leading to its total cider division declining 7.2% by volume and 0.4% by value. Volumes of Bulmers in Ireland, the name for the brand in the Republic, were up 2.7%, although they fell 3.3% by value. “The Bulmers brand enjoyed good volume growth but at the expense of unit revenues. Net revenue declined 3.3% in the quarter, with underlying price deflation of 6%. This compares to a run rate of 4.4% deflation in the financial year 2010/11. “In Gaymers, a reduced level of activity at the lower margin end of the portfolio contributed to a 15% decline in net revenues." C&C’s beer division, which includes distribution of Tennent’s in Ireland, “also enjoyed the benefit of the more favourable trading environment”. Total beer sales were up 6.9% by volume and 12.1% by value. Tennent’s sales were up 4% by volume and 5.9% by value, helped by increased prices. The company said trading in June has been “relatively weak in comparison to the prior year”, with “poor weather in Ireland and the UK adding to the challenge of last year’s World Cup comparatives”. “With the first quarter impetus and despite the weaker start to the second quarter, we remain confident of delivering to the previously stated guidance of operating profit in the range of EUR108m-EUR115m for the financial year ending 29 February 2012. “Should there be any sustained ‘seasonal upside’ from the first quarter’s trading, the current intention of the business is to invest further behind the Magners brand.”